Happy Holidays!

I wanted to take a quick moment and wish everyone a very happy holiday season! My hubby and I are taking a couple days to do a babymoon at a B&B in VA prior to Christmas - really looking forward to getting away and enjoying some of our last moments as just the two of us. As my due date looms, I will continue to be working and blogging as much as possible - but I am looking forward to the down time the holidays tend to naturally create and I hope you all take some time to relax, rejuvenate, and celebrate! Leaving you with some fantastic photos Sarah of Val & Sarah recently took of our little family (and for those of you who follow me on Instagram know, that beautiful black lab is our new puppy, Birdie). Huge shout out and thanks to Sarah… I love and adore these pics!

From our family to yours, happy holidays and happy new year!!

Photo by Val & Sarah

Photo by Val & Sarah

Photo by Val & Sarah

Photo by Val & Sarah

Photo by Val & Sarah




Non-Traditional Thanksgiving

I had a great Thanksgiving this year as I not only got to see my whole family, but they also threw me and my hubby a baby shower! More on the shower tomorrow, but first - a brief Thanksgiving recap cause I think all you lovers of things non-traditional might enjoy it. My husband rocked out a non-traditional Thanksgiving feast. As he has for the past several years, he and his brother and father went hunting and came back with goose and duck. He made an amazing goose and duck ramen as our Thanksgiving meal and it was so delicious. I decided to embrace the non-traditional aspects with the decor and do something more modern and minimalistic to match the seemingly simple ramen dish.


As always, I like to go into the detail on decor to show everyone that even party and event planners can be simple and make things easy on themselves! I used a white tablecloth I already had, and reused some black and white striped runners my mother made for our wedding! I decided to drape them in a somewhat non-traditional manner and instead of doing a runner lengthwise down the table, we did them across. I grabbed some cheap chopsticks and spoons, as well as some simple black fabric napkins from World Market. I then used some leftover tags I had from a previous wedding to do simple place cards that we tied to the napkin with string I had around the house. We knew we wanted to serve sparkling wine with the ramen, so to match our new (and cheap - Crate and Barrel Outlet what what) champagne glasses I picked up some mercury glass votives and a silver tray at Michael's to add a touch of shine and some simple centerpieces.



I was really happy with the result. I like keeping centerpieces minimal so that people can focus on the food and the people across from them. And it was fun to veer away from the traditional Thanksgiving decor of pumpkins and gourds and orange and earthy stuff and do something a bit more modern.

And for those who are really put off by non-traditional stuff, fear not - we had pie.


Happy Holidays 2013

I’ve been in full-on holiday spirit mode lately. We’re hosting my entire family for the holidays (they arrive this Saturday) so I’m decking the halls and enjoying every second.

The Plannery will officially be on vacation next week - I plan to give myself a real break from work and social media while the family is in town.

So I want to wish you all a wonderful holiday season before the family arrives and I’m off in the land of christmas cookie baking, present wrapping, and - who are we kidding - drinking and merriment. Enjoy your friends, enjoy your family, enjoy your traditions, your food, your decorations - relish it all. Wishing you peace, safe travels, and lots of holiday cheer!

Happy Holidays from The Plannery!



Holiday Hostess Gifts

The holidays are fast (FAST) approaching. I can’t believe it. I yelped to myself “WHATT??” the other day upon realizing there is only one free weekend before my family arrives. And so - I wanted to share some inexpensive, practical gifts (cause you know I love me some practicality) to bring to those holiday parties this year:

Modern House Wines have a line of very cute and hip wines available at Target. I picked up some “Here’s to You” to have on hand. I think the labels make for very cute gifts - and fyi, these also made Oprah and Gwynyth Paltrow’s gift guides - so that’ll either make you want it more or less. You decide. I went for it because of the price. And cause I could buy it at Target. I love Target.

Another option is to drop by your local cheese store. I happen to have Cheestique nearby and I adore them. Little known fact is that I wanted to own a cheese shop when I was a girl. Long story to be told another time, but needless to say, I love cheese shops. Pop in to yours and pick up some goodies - my favorites are Taleggio and Epoisses (for those who love the delicious and don’t mind the stinky). You don’t need to stick to cheese though - buy some cured meats, some bread, or even a lovely slate cheese board for your host or hostess.

Fabric cocktail napkins are another favorite because they’re something you’d never buy for yourself. I don’t have any. But I’d totally use them if I did. I think these from Crate & Barrel are very festive and modern without being overly cutesy and holiday-y.

I also love these silicone ice cube trays from Tovolo that create extra large cubes. These are so much more stylish for those drinks “on the rocks.” Your boozehound friends will adore them.

And why not also give them some bitters to make the perfect cocktails? I love this gift set from Scrappys

On the cheaper end, why not just make them a mix of your favorite holiday music? You already know True Blue Miracle from Christmas Eve on Sesame Street is one of my favorites. Some others include the Andrews Sisters (classic), as well as Benjamin Britton’s Ceremony of Carols. Amahl and the Night Visitors is the best, though. My mom used to play this every year and it always gives me the warm fuzzies. A beautiful Christmas story and I’m not kidding will make me cry so I have to stop talking about it right now.

Flowers are always a good standby. But why not DIY some florals? Middle Atlantic Wholesale Florist doesn’t only sell wholesale! They’re an amazing gem - drop by and they can help you find and put together whatever you need, including vases and greenery!

Headed back to my Del Ray hood, I have to recommend a pint of Frozen Custard from the Dairy Godmother. You can see their flavor forecast here. I’m dying to try the eggnog flavor. This is a can’t miss gift. Unless they’re lactose intolerant. In which case, skip it.

And finally, this is a season about giving. So why not donate to a charity in honor of your host or hostess? World Vision has a great gift catalog with amazing options include goats, ducks, clean water, or education for young women! That is what it’s all about, folks.

Happy Holidays!!!


Del Ray Variety

Since we had such glorious weather on Monday, I decided to take a break from working to walk into town and run some errands. While there, I finally got a chance to check out the new store, Del Ray Variety - and let me tell you, it is awesome. I was impressed with everything they had there - but the party-planner in me was especially excited by their party supplies. For anyone in the neighborhood who is throwing any type of celebration - big, or small - this is an excellent new resource.

The first thing I was super psyched about was that it has balloons. Lots and lots of balloons. You can buy them and deal with them yourself or they can provide the helium and put them all together for you. And they had a ton of variety. From showers to birthdays, basics to holidays - they had a bit of everything. My favorites were these black and white polka dotted beauties:


They also have a ton of other party supplies. From tablecloths to utensils, napkins to favors - they have a ton of options here:

So be sure to drop by and check them out!

happy valentine's day.

Happy Valentine's Day! Whether you are married, single, engaged, pre-engaged, about to get engaged, don't care about any of it - I wish you lots of love! And now, to honor my Puritan ancestors (seriously, we're talking the Mayflower, people) and bring you a smile this V-day, I give you Puritan Valentines (courtesy of






a new year

2013. A brand new year. I’ll be honest – as an event planner, I should love New Years Eve. But I actually find it to be an over-rated holiday, more often than not a holiday that is built up and up and up and then therefore is somewhat of a let down.

But. I love the new year. I love new beginnings. I love taking a break and thinking about goals for the upcoming year. Fears and hopes and dreams. It’s inspiring and scary. Sort of like learning to ski when you’re 30.

I learned to ski two years ago in Whistler, BC. I’m not ashamed to say that I did it for my husband. He loves to ski, and one of the reasons I married him is that he challenges me to do things I wouldn’t normally do. So I took lessons. And I cried. A lot. It was hard, but at the end of the 3rd and final lesson I had the basics and was proud that at 30 I’d learned to do something completely new.

I then tried again last year. And cried. A bit. But got a bit better, too.

This year I was at my in-laws’ lake house in Deep Creek Lake, MD for new years. And once again I went skiing with my husband. And this time? It was fun! I still only did the green slopes. I still took my time. But I only fell once (if you don’t count the time an as$hole snowboarder ran right into me…that was truly not my fault) - and the only tears shed were tears of joy and appreciation.

Somehow it felt really right that my skiing journey clicked into place as the new year began. Learning to ski meant conquering lots of fears. It meant trusting my husband. It meant learning to be patient. It meant enjoying the challenge. And it meant I got to fly and glide with freedom over fluffy snow.

So I’m taking this time to look ahead to what 2013 might hold for me. Lots of challenges await as I continue to get my new business on its feet. But the increased inquiries have been so wonderful and encouraging.  The news of Maryland’s same sex weddings brought a huge smile to my face. I look forward to continuing to meet the amazing vendors in the DC area – those I met in 2012 exceeded my expectations for both quality and friendliness.

So let’s do it, 2013. Here’s to conquering fear, looking ahead, and giving it your all. If we do that, we just might fly.


Friday Links: Maryland's ready, Les Mis, and creepy babies

Hope you all had a lovely week. I've been busy with new clients, new vendors and getting our house prepped for the holidays (which is strange to do in 60 degree weather).

The happy news here locally is that marriage licenses are now officially available for same sex couples in MD. The marriages can't occur til January 1, 2013, but I'm so thrilled for all the happy couples planning their weddings for 2013!

Paperless post already has some awesome invites on their site, but Erin Jang just created some new designs for their holiday invites that you should definitely check out - so modern and fun. For those of you who don't know Paperless Post, they're a way classier version of evite - emailed invitations with really gorgeous design. Great option for smaller parties - from holiday gatherings to showers, birthdays to new years (and I did not get paid to say this. I truly just like them a lot).

As some of you may know I have a theatre background - so the musical theatre nerd in me really lurved this Les Mis wedding flash mob. That being said, my favorite version of the Les Mis flash mob is still this version (which was technically for a birthday). His joy just gets me every time in my theatre nerd soul.

And guys? I don't usually like to criticize or be too snarky. But... this woman makes baby cakes. Cakes that look like babies. Whatttt.

And with that disturbing idea, I leave you. Have a great weekend!

Thanksgiving recap

My husband and I alternate holidays - it's our own way of attempting to maintain balance between families and also not stretching ourselves too much when it comes to travel (it can be a tricky part of marriage, that whole holiday thing. Some great discussion about it here if you're interested). This year it was "my" family's Thanksgiving, and my family traveled down from the East Coast to stay with us as we hosted our first Thanksgiving. Let me just say this outright: My husband is an awesome chef and I'm a super-lucky woman (he claims you have to be professional to be a "chef" - so I'll just say he's a kick-ass home chef). He and his father and brother went hunting for geese, forgoing the traditional turkey for another very holiday-esque bird. He also has butchery experience, so it was really great for him to be a part of the process from beginning to end - to hunt, kill, butcher and deliciously prepare the bird.

He did the menu planning...


I did the other planning, including our very rustic tabletop decorations, the pies, and the overall oh-crap-I-have-to-do-a-ton-of-cleaning-and-laundry stuff that always arises when your entire family is coming to town. Lists were made and crossed off (I am a planner, after all) - and with family having arrived, we were ready to feast and celebrate.


The meal eventually consisted of multiple courses, stretched throughout the day and well into the night. It was pretty darned awesome:

An oyster toast (freshly shucked by both my husband and my brother-in-law). Salmon pate. An amuse bouche of roasted black salt oyster with pancetta, fresh horseradish and chorizo oil on a bed of carrot top salad with lemon vinaigrette. Butternut squash soup with blue crab, garlic sage croutons and fried sage. Braised wild goose hash with sweet potato, chorizo, crab, bay oysters and winter herbs. Seared goose breast with rosemary potatoes and brussels sprouts, garlic sage and carrot top carrots. Finally ending with my grandmother's apple pie recipe and pumpkin pie.

This is a wonderful article that inspired my husband to make the meal reflect the eastern shore - a great read.















I was feeling thankful, indeed.